Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Looming Shadow of Nuremberg

An Open Letter to America's Soldiers by Tony Swindell at Counterpunch

"How many of you recognize the name of Army Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr.?
I do because he and I stood on and flew over the same ground nearly 40 years ago. Like him, I left a little blood and a lot of sweat in a Godforsaken place halfway around the world, earning four battle stars in 11 months. Plus some cheap tin and ribbon medals made even cheaper by the good friends who never came home with me. Thompson did, too.
Hugh was a helicopter pilot who aimed his guns at American soldiers--members of my brigade -- to keep them from slaughtering civilians in the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai 4. Spotting massacred civilians around My Lai, Thompson and his two-man crew landed beside wounded civilians to give medical help as the infantry company commander and others present kept shooting the wounded. Thompson ordered his crew to open fire if the slaughter continued. No more civilians were shot.
Thompson's story is critical because the march to a nuclear war against Iran has begun, and YOU will the ones carrying it out. There is no way to effectively "confront" Iran except with tactical nuclear weapons. Tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children will die outright or suffer lingering deaths from horrible radiation sicknesses. It will be murder, pure and simple. Look at the suffering around you and multiply it by hundreds.
No doubt you know that back home, 80 per cent of the American people voted in the last election to end the Iraq debacle, but no one in Washington listened. Our two-faced media watchdogs are a gaggle of neocon propaganda peddlers, corporate whores and New World Order shills who helped orchestrate and cheerlead the slaughter, and they sneer at your patriotism behind your backs.
Everything you've been told about Iraq is a pack of lies, and the powers that be seem to think we're all stupid enough to be conned again. We can't trust our elected representatives to carry out the will of the people. They're been bought and sold, and have just proven it. For all practical purposes, a coup d'etat has taken place."

This is a must read. If the coming firestorm can be stopped it's going to be up to the soldier on the ground to listen to his or her conscience.
Take a moment and ponder what this man did:

"But there also were American heroes that day in My Lai, including helicopter pilot Hugh Clowers Thompson Jr. from Stone Mountain, Georgia. After concluding that he was witnessing a massacre, he landed his helicopter between one group of fleeing civilians and American soldiers in pursuit.
Thompson ordered his helicopter door gunner, Lawrence Colburn, to shoot the Americans if they tried to harm the Vietnamese. After a tense confrontation, the soldiers backed off.
Later, two of Thompson’s men climbed into one ditch filled with corpses and pulled out a three-year-old boy who was still alive. Thompson, then a warrant officer, called in other U.S. helicopters to assist the Vietnamese. All told, they airlifted at least nine Vietnamese civilians to safety.
When he returned to headquarters, a furious Thompson reported what he had witnessed, leading to orders that the My Lai killings be stopped. By then, however, the slaughter had raged for four hours, claiming the lives of 347 Vietnamese, including babies.
“They said I was screaming quite loud,” Thompson told U.S. News & World Report in 2004. “I threatened never to fly again. I didn't want to be a part of that. It wasn't war.”
For siding with Vietnamese civilians over his American comrades, Thompson was treated like a pariah. He was shunned by fellow soldiers, received death threats for reporting the war crime, and later was denounced by one congressman as the only American who should be punished for My Lai."

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Thompson died January 6 of last year.


Blogger The Tattlesnake said...

I think we may have had in Vietnam, and still have, many more conscientious, decent men like Thompson in the military than we realize, but they rarely announce themselves and their stories usually go untold.

I was lucky enough to meet such a human being who stopped a minor slaughter in Vietnam, but his story will never appear in any history book -- he doesn't want it to and has warned those who know what he did to keep their lips tightly zipped.

At this point, I have some 'cautious optimism' that should Bush try to go 'nukular' in Iran, there are those in the officer corps who will stop him.

Good post, BTW.

8/2/07 7:02 AM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

We can only hope, tattlesnake, that you're right. I have to confess every time I look at that man and think about what he did my eyes tear up. Talk about the courage to see something and act on it to right a wrong, damn.

8/2/07 10:11 AM  

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